by WorldTribune Staff, April 3, 2020
Iran would “pay a heavy price” for an attack on American troops or assets in Iraq, U.S. President Donald Trump warned.
“Upon information and belief, Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on U.S. troops and/or assets in Iraq,” Trump tweeted on April 1.
“If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price, indeed!” he added.
U.S. intelligence about a potential Iran-backed strike in Iraq “suggests it would likely be a deniable attack, as opposed to the kind of overt missile strike that Teheran carried out on Jan. 8,” Reuters reported, citing a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack on Iraq’s al-Asad air base injured 11 American troops.
The official told Reuters that intelligence threads about a potential attack by Iran or Iran-backed terrorists had been building for some time. The official did not disclose intelligence on the timing or precise locations of any attack.
Hours before Trump’s tweet, a top military aide to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cautioned the United States of consequences of “provocative actions” in Iraq.
“Any U.S. action will mark an even larger strategic failure in the current president’s record,” Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi said, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
On March 11, a rocket attack on an Iraqi base killed two U.S. troops and one British soldier.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which was followed by deadly U.S. airstrikes on the pro-Iranian Kataib Hizbullah militia group.
In December, Washington blamed Kataib Hizbullah for a strike that killed a U.S. contractor and triggered a round of violence that led Trump to order the killing of Iranian terror chief Qasem Soleimani.